I love me some movie posters. Especially when they’re either a) beautiful enough to stand as art in their own right or b) depict the film they advertise in a particularly apt or innovative way. Thanks to the Internet Movie Poster Awards site (which is a wonderful resource for posters, award-worthy or no), I’ve been able to look closely at last year’s posters (and previous years, but let’s not push this Year’s Best thing too far–we’re already three months into a new year) and chosen several that I think ought to be recognized.
While narrowing down the choices, I did discover several biases I have–things that generally make me like or dislike a poster. Floating heads of the stars = bad. Selling the film based only on the stars = bad. Lots of negative space = good. Characters depicted facing away from us or in long shot = good. Hand-drawn, cartoony, or stylized quality = usually good. Anyway, here are my favorite posters from last year. (And regarding the order, I’ve changed it many many times even since I started writing this post, so I don’t even know if it’s at all accurate to my thoughts anymore.)
#10: Eastern Promises
Eastern Promises is about people who make their living with their hands – fighting and killing, surviving in the Russian mafia. Highlighting the hands — and the numerous tattoos that identify relationships with specific underworld factions — is perfect, because ultimately what matters in the film is what the characters choose to do with the information they gain. Plus, focusing on body parts other than the face makes for a much more interesting poster than most. The only thing that would’ve improved the poster is to have left off the strip of faces on the bottom, which really adds nothing.
#9: 3:10 to Yuma
Biases alert: character facing away from us, stylized look, focus on story (gunslinger waiting for train, seen between his legs). This was one of my very favorite posters when it came out last year, but I’ve started to cool on it a little bit because I think ultimately, it’s a little too busy. The grunge styling is cool, but there’s too much of it in too many places, too many flourishes, and the director blurb on the right side is indulgent. Still, the monochrome coloring and unusual layout make it heaps better than most posters.
#8: Spider-Man 3
Another tendency I have: a strong preference for teaser posters over the final one-sheets. Regardless of how good Spider-Man 3 turned to be (or not be), this teaser is near perfection. It’s simple, it’s iconic, and he’s wearing a black suit. Which I know, I know, is evil, but it’s SO HOT. The later posters made the conflict between good/red Spider-Man and bad/black Spider-Man more clear, but for pure visual impact, none of them match this one.
The rest after the jump.